Athens aims to prove it is serious on sell-offs
As Greece struggles to earn the next payout from its third bailout, the revival of its stalled privatization program may help rebuild creditors’ trust after months of often bitter confrontation. Greece is aiming to lease 14 regional airports and line up the sale of a majority stake in the port of Piraeus before the end of the year as the government attempts to rev up asset sales that have consistently failed to live up to expectations through successive bailouts. Next year officials in Athens are targeting 3.5 billion euros from asset sales and concessions, as much as the country raised in the past four years. “The willingness of the gov-
Greek shippers are preparing for the 4.1 percent growth in maritime transport that the IMF expects for 2016 by increasing their shipping capacity from 258.5 million tons in 2014 to 279.5 million euros this year, according to the annual report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). ernment to continue the privatizations will signal its credibility and the ability to take ownership of Greece’s third economic adjustment program,” said Theodoros Stamatiou, senior economist at Eurobank. “The current series of privatizations will signal to foreign investors that the government is willing to do business with the international markets.” By December, the government aims to complete the 1.2-billion-euro regional airport lease with Fraport AG-Slentel and receive a binding offers for a 67 percent stake in Piraeus Port Authority SA from AP Moller-Maersk’s APM Terminals unit, China’s Cosco Holding Co and Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. That deal is due to be completed in early 2016. These privatizations “will have an impressive impact on the Greek economy” and will show that the economy “has been stabilized,” Stergios Pitsiorlas, chairman of the Hel- lenic Republic Asset Development Fund, said in an interview in Athens. “They will radically change the image of the country and bring more investments.” The fund will also address “as a matter of priority” the 20-year extension of the concession to operate Athens International Airport and the sale of a 30 percent stake in the Greek capital’s air transport hub, Pitsiorlas said.